Discrepancies in medication entries between anesthetic and pharmacy records using electronic databases.

Research paper by Michael M MM Vigoda, Frank J FJ Gencorelli, David A DA Lubarsky

Indexed on: 28 Sep '07Published on: 28 Sep '07Published in: Anesthesia and analgesia


Accurate recording of disposition of controlled substances is required by regulatory agencies. Linking anesthesia information management systems (AIMS) with medication dispensing systems may facilitate automated reconciliation of medication discrepancies.In this retrospective investigation at a large academic hospital, we reviewed 11,603 cases (spanning an 8-mo period) comparing records of medications (i.e., narcotics, benzodiazepines, ketamine, and thiopental) recorded as removed from our automated medication dispensing system with medications recorded as administered in our AIMS.In 15% of cases, we found discrepancies between dispensed versus administered medications. Discrepancies occurred in both the AIMS (8% cases) and the medication dispensing system (10% cases). Although there were many different types of user errors, nearly 75% of them resulted from either an error in the amount of drug waste documented in the medication dispensing system (35%); or an error in documenting the medication in the AIMS (40%).A significant percentage of cases contained data entry errors in both the automated dispensing and AIMS. This error rate limits the current practicality of automating the necessary reconciliation. An electronic interface between an AIMS and a medication dispensing system could alert users of medication entry errors prior to finalizing a case, thus reducing the time (and cost) of reconciling discrepancies.